Connect with us

Wealth Management

How data transformation can revolutionise underwriting in the insurance sector



Richard Jones, VP Sales Northern Europe, Confluent


Developing a 360-degree understanding of your customers is complicated. No matter the industry, you need the permission and the technology to collect swathes of personal data in almost real-time, and then the ability to apply that data to the customer experience.

Despite that complexity, customer expectations are rising. With financial services increasingly associated with digital transformation, as brick-and-mortar branches continue to close and digital disruptors like Starling receive acclaim, customers want a slick digital experience. They want quotes to take hours or even minutes, rather than days – and for their personal data to be reflected in their journey.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to meet those expectations. The data that feeds a customer profile is often incomplete, and there are human links at every critical point in the underwriting chain. You can’t sacrifice the human element, as manual intervention – and interacting with someone you feel you can trust – is a key part of underwriting. But manual processes will inevitably slow the process down.

Customer satisfaction, as a result, is falling. The British Association of Insurers has found that just 13% of us give our insurance providers an 8/10 or higher when it comes to trust; and 70% believe that premiums go up no matter what they do, suggesting their insurer isn’t really interested in their personal circumstances.

That’s where artificial intelligence (AI) can help. We’re not just talking about introducing new technologies to underwriters, but more about a ‘data transformation.’ To meet customer expectations at the required speed, you need a system that can process an immense volume of data in real time and use that to shape the customer journey across the board.

But as we’ve said, you can’t abandon that human touch entirely. Research from McKinsey specifically calls out “employee courtesy” and “employee knowledge and professionalism” as fundamental to customer satisfaction.

So, how do we balance these two things? How do we automate enough of the underwriting process without becoming too mechanical?

Data-driven differentiation

Ultimately, underwriting – and all insurance – is about your organisation’s ability to quantify risk. The more accurate, high-value, timely data you have at your fingertips, the more likely you are to accurately assess the risk that a certain customer represents. This isn’t lost on underwriters either, who recognise the need to fuel the systems that will bring customers the experience they crave.

PwC has suggested in recent research that a huge 97% of London Market insurers see the ability to “better leverage business data” as a driver for technological transformation. While Deloitte actually finds that underwriting organisations are one of the more mature in financial services when it comes to analytics, with 72% of the surveyed organisations categorised as either ‘adopter’ or ‘pioneer.’

They’re doing so to address the need to reduce the time between data entering the system and it being available to business-critical systems. And that data can’t be siloed, either – it needs to be accessible to the divergent teams right across the organisation.

In simple terms, insurers are only as good as their data. The more accurate, the faster, and the higher quality that data is, the better products and services they can offer.

At your own risk

With all that said, insurers are risk-averse – as you’d expect. Data transformation will inevitably render legacy tech obsolete, and removing such systems from an organisation as interconnected and nuanced as an underwriter is no mean feat.

As a result, it’s often convenient to push back on upgrading such technology. The process of replacing it can be long and expensive, and there’s no guarantee that their long-term strategic objectives might change.

There’s also the logistical complexity to consider. Any system that seeks to de-silo data and make it accessible needs to integrate business-wide, which demands an intensive audit. And the removal of systems that people are used to demands training, which costs both initial investment and the loss of some productivity while staff get back up to speed.

Many underwriters are caught, then, between an inability to meet customer expectations compared to their data-driven rivals, and ‘biting the bullet’ on their own data transformation. But as failing to adapt will ultimately render them obsolete, that point of change has to come sooner or later.

Now it’s personal

That covers the technology – but what, as we’ve said, about balancing it with that human touch?

Well, data capture isn’t just about the financial aspects of a customer. Every customer data point – from an address history to customer service records – should impact how that person is treated.

In time, that data helps to build a comprehensive customer profile that can act as a ‘single source of truth’ for that person no matter which system or staff member is handling them. It’s the convergence point of every data stream, and that makes it the one-stop touchpoint for informing a customer’s experience.

That can drastically accelerate the process that a staff member can provide, without sacrificing the personability that is so important in the first place. Being able to refer to customer records, direct them to an offer on their favourite device, or using a preferred name in email comms, gives them the feeling of being recognised as a valued customer.

This sort of ‘hyper-personalisation’ is a powerful weapon to combat falling customer sentiment. If you can prove that you understand an individual and can use that understanding to pull them through a quick and efficient customer experience, there’s little room for dissatisfaction.

Ultimately, that balance is the goal for modern underwriters. To move at the speed of digital disruptors, underwriters have to be able to transform their systems to prioritise data, without compromising that human touch. If they can do so, they differentiate themselves from the competition in the best way possible – and prime themselves to take advantage of new technologies in the future.


Increasing the visibility of assets: How will businesses track assets in 2024



Liam Reid, Technology and Innovation Director at The Barcode Warehouse


There is a growing trend towards using device tracking technologies to better protect digital assets, leading to changes in how businesses approach cost benefits and efficiency improvements.

As we look ahead to the new year, we can expect this trend to continue, as more and more industries recognise the advantages of implementing digital technologies in the workplace.

This rise in tracking technology use coincides with businesses struggling with how to best integrate device management technology into their infrastructure.

Until recently, this kind of technology has experienced significantly lower levels of uptake in comparison to others. In the race towards digitalisation, many businesses could not see the justification for purchasing tracking solutions, yet these attitudes, as well as those towards asset management generally, have started to change. Rising hardware and supply chain costs continue to add further strain on companies and with the need to improve efficiencies and business operations, companies are placing more value on their current assets, with a stronger desire to protect investments in a tough economic climate and increase the sweating periods.


Valuable assets

With businesses facing rising costs and economic challenges, there is a growing emphasis on maximising the value derived from current assets. Device management services provide a solution for businesses, by collecting all business assets under one form of organisational control, companies can then review the location, status, condition and utilisation of any asset. Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions offer businesses significant advantages when compared to other device management platforms. A device management service via a MDM platform allows businesses of any size to gain control of their full estate of devices, regardless of their model or operating system, as long as the device is still supported and secure.

With companies looking to the future to help elongate device usage and lifespan, centralised device management can support this by protecting and maximising a return on a business’s mobile technology investment. The data provided by MDM solutions can offer companies increased visibility of mobile technology to help make data-driven decisions regarding the volume of devices within a business estate and ownership within the company.

With businesses looking more closely at device management and extending their lifespan, there has been an increasing demand for organisations to be able to track devices even when in low-power mode or switched off. This means we can expect low-frequency solutions such as SigFox and LoRa Wan to become more prevalent in the tracking world along with the continued growth around IOT allowing for the management of non-intelligent but highly valuable assets becoming more prevalent. With qualities such as deep indoor penetration and longer-range capabilities, these will support an increased demand for tracking both inside and outside of the four walls that experts are expecting in the next year.

Here are my predictions for the channel market in 2024.


Digitise to Survive

 Following a turbulent 12 months for many industries in the UK, businesses are now looking to 2024 to plan for how they will invest within their digital capabilities to improve and grow their company.  Next year marks a turning point in many businesses’ digital transformation journey as many companies are coming to the realisation that there is no alternative. Businesses must digitise to survive.

Particularly across a range of industries, this is becoming more vital, such as pharmaceuticals and logistics and transports, companies must invest in new digital capabilities to reform their legacy systems to modernise and digitise their operations.

This is where asset management solutions and MDM software will play a stronger role within businesses next year. More companies, when investing in new digital technologies, are concerned about the longevity of the new devices they are deploying within their business. To save on costs, businesses are becoming more concerned about how long they can sweat their assets, and MDM software can offer increased insight into the status and operability of a device.

So, with more businesses becoming increasingly financially conscious next year, we will see an increase in the uptake of MDM solutions to manage asset lifespan, but also to evaluate pain points within a business’s digital asset estate to optimise device usage and downtime.


Immersing multi-functional devices into your business

With the onus now on businesses to ensure their assets last as long as possible, there has been a shift to focusing on multi-functional devices within companies. This focus is set to continue next year, with more importance set to be placed on multi-functional devices that can used for a variety of different business operations and have a significantly elongated lifespan.

One key change that more businesses are interested in is being able to use a mobile device as a desktop or laptop, allowing for increased productivity for remote and travelling employees. This shift to multi-functional devices is allowing businesses to save on both device costs and space, as there is no longer a need to have fixed desktop workstations within offices and warehouses. The ‘work from anywhere’ ethos has stuck across a range of industries following the pandemic, and now there is the shift to how can work from anywhere employees use one device for everything.

Embedding new multi-functional devices into the pre-existing business infrastructure will pose a challenge for businesses that are running their operations on legacy systems, so it is likely we will see an uptake in more businesses moving to more digital capabilities and deploying MDM solutions to manage their multi-functional devices.


Flexibility factor

Following the rise in multi-functional devices, this is coming more into play for the channel, retail and warehouse sectors as more companies are looking to transition from fixed point-of-sale (POS) devices to roaming handheld POS.

For a range of industries this will continue to transform productivity and efficiency, but also provide companies with an option to take advantage of multi-functional device capabilities. As a result, it is likely next year, these industries will see a shift away from fixed devices to flexible roaming mobile devices, capable of multiple tasks both in warehouses and shopfloors.

With the increased element of roaming devices comes an increased security risk, so it is likely that businesses will place further restrictions and security solutions on mobile devices next year. This will be so mobile assets can be managed, tracked, and secured when they are used inside and outside a company’s buildings.


Advancing to MDM systems

 Business strategies and operational plans will continue to change frequently next year in response to consumer demands, external influences and new technologies introduced within a business. But, the industry is set to experience a number of challenges next year, particularly for businesses still operating on Windows operating systems.

Businesses must be prepared to shift away from legacy systems that cannot accommodate the added security required for mobile devices within a business network. So, we will likely see businesses moving away from their previous legacy systems to newer Android-supported MDM systems. As a result, there will be a continued reliance on MDM solutions, not only from a tracking and device management point of view but also for security considerations to protect businesses and secure their devices from any potential security risks.

In 2024, businesses will need to remain perceptive when facing a variety of risks and challenges coupled with shifting away from legacy models, moving away from legacy models, advancing to MDM solutions and immersing multi-functional roaming POS devices.


Continue Reading

Wealth Management

Why asset management comms are samey and boring, and what you can do about it.




Tom Knox, Executive Partner at MullenLowe


In asset management standardised communications seem to be a given.

Our recent semiotic analysis (a science of signs that explores how they communicate and generate meaning) unearthed some fascinating insights into why the likes of UBS, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs present a homogenous face to the world. Partnering with the OI agency, we were keen to explore the reasons behind this homogenous approach, in order to better understand the impact it might be having.

There are powerful forces at play which combine to make communications in asset management deliberately boring. You could say it’s a conspiracy of consistency.

Reinforcement of trust is the primary objective of brand communications in this category, not least because the decision to invest large sums of money is predominantly influenced by direct customer experience and personal recommendation.

Framing trust as the main category asset

Put simply, these are four immutable narratives which all asset management players deploy as building blocks of trust.

  1. ‘We have big knowledge.’

In a category where knowledge is literally power, the absolute price of entry is the assertion of global intelligence into markets. This is what leads to the presentation in most communications of maps of the world, intelligent people huddled over computers and visualisations of vast reams of data.

  1. ‘We can control the future.’

The category world view is entirely quantitative. Intense mathematical abstraction is the way to assert control over the future. Surprise and chance are the enemy. This is what leads to the conservative conformity of art direction in the category; the neatly delineated systems and boxes, and the abstract language that turns wars into ‘volatility’ and businesses into ‘opportunities’.

  1. ‘We have a moral compass.’

The category has a standardised and rigid moral code in which ‘good’ is always equivalent to financial value and economic growth. Modern concepts of stewardship of the planet, inclusion and equal opportunity have recently been grafted onto the enduring notions of Protestant hard work and duty. This is not just about making people richer, there’s also a higher goal of shared wellbeing.

  1. ‘We enable middle class lives.’

The specific purpose of all of this wealth generation, and the summation of the category worldview, is in the common depiction of the end consumer. There is a remarkably narrow and consistent consensus on the kind of life that is enabled by financial security, manifested in clichéd depictions of middle-class life: the hand holding with young children, the sports, the college graduations and the holiday sunsets.

In summary, the message is always, “We know a ton of stuff, which stabilises reality and makes the future controllable. We’re governed by a sense of good. And we do all this in the name of enabling good, middle-class lives.”

Or, looked at through the lens of communications, “We have stripped out all drama, surprise and colour from life!”

Unsurprisingly, this has a stultifying effect on creativity and suppresses differentiation.

Let employee brand be your best asset

This presents asset management brand marketing teams – and their agencies – with a huge challenge. How do you differentiate in a market that inherently suspects mavericks and deviations from the norm?

The answer is to let employee brand be your champion. Determine what your organisation, clients and workforce truly values, the essence of the culture that has been created, and distil that into communications: brand personality, tone of voice and art direction.

The result is that your asset management company tells potential customers what kind of people they will be when choosing the brand. That way, brands can attract an audience by meaningfully distinguishing themselves without necessarily trashing category conventions. It’s the basis for deeper relationships with intermediaries, institutional investors and individual consumers.

BlackRock is a great example. With its “Investing for a new world” stance, the largest global fund manager takes a moral and ethical position on the whole economic sphere. The company describes the whole system of modern capitalism, takes an intellectual overview of it, and acts as a gateway to share the power with ordinary people. So, the customer is an ordinary person who wants power collected by BlackRock and made accessible to them.

Without the four building blocks which our study found the category so readily conforms to you’re not even at the table. But harness the values of your organisation and push them out via distinctive brand communications, and you can make your mark in the category without upsetting the asset management apple cart.

Continue Reading



Business1 day ago

Revolutionizing Risk: Innovative Derivatives to Support the Evolution of Commercial Space

By Grant Gryska, Co-Founder and Director of Markets at Allocation.Space   The space economy continues to expand rapidly, crossing $500bn...

Finance1 day ago

How technology can help win the war on financial crime

By Andrew Doyle, CEO of AML compliance software, NorthRow   Financial crime is on the rise and the stats are...

Finance2 days ago

In 2024, payments will evolve to broaden accessibility

Attributed to Roy Aston, COO at Paysafe.   As we look to 2024 and beyond, businesses will need to adapt...

Business2 days ago

2024 Payments Predictions

Alan Irwin, Vice President of Product & Solutions Europe, Global Payments: Open banking in 2024 will be all about the...

Technology2 days ago

How to protect your business from the rise of sophisticated cyberattacks 

Suhaib Zaheer SVP, Managed Hosting at Digital Ocean & GM, Cloudways   In an age where technology drives business operations, the...

Business2 days ago

Increasing the visibility of assets: How will businesses track assets in 2024

Liam Reid, Technology and Innovation Director at The Barcode Warehouse   There is a growing trend towards using device tracking...

Wealth Management2 days ago

Why asset management comms are samey and boring, and what you can do about it.

Tom Knox, Executive Partner at MullenLowe   In asset management standardised communications seem to be a given. Our recent semiotic...

News2 days ago

Unified ticketing: how can transport stakeholders ensure interoperability?

Arnaud Depaigne, Product Manager – Smart Mobility, and Taoufik Sakhi, VP Deputy – Technical Advisory at Fime   Public Transport...

Wealth Management2 days ago

Is social housing at breaking point? How to tackle the social housing crisis in the UK

By Julie Thompson, Head of Tenant Liaison, Assisted Living Project The housing market is facing a huge upheaval with inflation rising...

Business2 days ago

Everybody wins with new Consumer Credit regulations as borrowing soars

By Mike Ward, Executive Chairman of Armalytix   Why the FCA’s new regulations for the consumer credit sector are a...

Business3 days ago

CFOs: Want to reduce stock levels and improve margins in 2024?

Rob Shaw, SVP and General Manager EMEA, Fluent Commerce   If any one word could encapsulate 2023, it would be...

News3 days ago

Provenir and Trustfull Agree Global Partnership

Trustfull and Provenir to deliver innovative risk decisioning using digital footprints via new global partnership. Trustfull, the digital risk decisioning...

Finance3 days ago

Driving Transformation in the Financial Sector: The Impact of AI in Finance

Wilson Chan, CEO of Permutable AI   In the dynamic landscape of financial evolution, AI is a major disruptor, a...

News3 days ago

Why financial brands should experiment to effectively innovate

by CJ Daniel-Nield, Co-Founder at digital product studio Planes   The financial sector is experiencing a surge in innovation through product....

Business5 days ago

Consumers are ready to switch, are you ready to keep them?

Amanda Silcock, Senior Director, Client Success   The current economic climate has meant that people across the UK have been...

Business6 days ago

Hype, Hysteria & Hope: AI’s Evolutionary Journey and What it Means for Financial Services

Written by Gabriel Hopkins, Chief Product Officer at Ripjar   Almost a year to the day since ChatGPT launched, the...

Wealth Management6 days ago

Exploring the intricate link between commodity prices and forex markets

Many investors have dabbled in the world of commodities and/or forex trading. But few understand the intricate link between the...

Finance6 days ago

Five predictions for digital service offerings in the UK in 2024

Mike Kiely, Regional Senior Director at IDnow   With the rise of ChatGPT, the topics of fraud and deepfakes entered...

Finance6 days ago

Non-bank financial intermediation: in turbulent times, how can incumbents manage risk?

By Muzammil Shabudin, UKI Risk CxP Advisory Lead at SAS UK & Ireland   It’s safe to say the banking...

Finance6 days ago

Rigby Capital unveils a new era of ESG-led IT financing

Simon Everidge, Managing Director of Rigby Capital UK   A new collaboration between Rigby Capital, its sister company SCC, the...